General Question

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Would you apply for a job that required you to submit your social media passwords as part of a job application process?

Asked by PandoraBoxx (18026points) June 22nd, 2009

Bozeman, MT made national news last week by reports that the city was requiring applicants for city jobs to provide their social media site user names and passwords as part of the job application process. (Today they announced that they were suspending the process.) Would you surrender your passwords if it meant a chance at a job?

While this is a little extreme, apparently getting fired for complaining about management in an online, password protected group is not. What are your online privacy expectations?

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35 Answers

juwhite1's avatar

Absolutely not… I work in Human Resources, and in my opinion, that is extremely unethical and boarders on violating privacy laws in many states in the United States. It is considered somewhat unethical by many HR Professionals to even surf Facebook, MySpace, and other social networking sites to gather information on candidates. I cannot even imagine actually asking for a candidate’s password to these sites! It is none of their business, and they have absolutely no business need to hack into your site.

AstroChuck's avatar

Absolutely not.

juwhite1's avatar

“Today they announced that they were suspending the process.”

i hope they are suspending the person who came up with this ridiculous process, too!

Vecsus's avatar

Not only would I never surrender my password, I would not even give them my account/profile names. Whatever background checks they run for security purposes is enough to discover I am not a liability.

filmfann's avatar

No, I wouldn’t.
I wonder how many people wouldn’t, but would agree to an anal cavity search and a drug test.

cak's avatar

I think this is going too far, for most jobs.

Now, I don’t think I want a teacher on Facebook complaining about her students – something similar happened in a county bordering the county I live in, she pretty much cussed two students and then bragged about being toasted right before she went to school.

EDIT: To be clear, though. No, giving passwords for a general job is a lot to be asked to do. There are very specific background and very detailed background checks out there, I know, I used to do them in the hiring process.

I do believe that for political offices and some jobs, yeah…what you say and do on a website can affect your job.

Would I give mine info out? Nope. That’s why I’m my own employer.

For some jobs, the vetting process is pretty tough and needs to be that way; however, for a normal everyday job…I think this is far too much.

juwhite1's avatar

I’d agree to the drug test, but not the anal cavity search or handing over my passwords. I’ve also agreed to credit checks in the past, because they had a legitimate business reason to ensure I wasn’t in financial dire straights, and to get some additional assurance that I am a responsible person. For most positions, I wouldn’t agree to a credit check, either, though.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

No and there’s no reason I’d tell them I was part of any social media, I’d deny it and then it would be their call to waste time and money on investigation to find out if I had a facebook or whatever.

Now, being terminated for complaining about an employer while using the company computers… take your chances, folks.

juwhite1's avatar

Regarding the Social Media policies… we have one that just basically states you can’t speak on behalf of our company or divulge proprietary information or confidential information about coworkers on line. It doesn’t restrict any personal freedom of expression, just basically reminds people not to divulge on line what they aren’t allowed to divulge, anyway.

Jeruba's avatar

No. Never. I would be out of there so fast they’d think I was static on their screen. And I’d warn everybody about it.

I once turned down a job because they required drug testing. I don’t and didn’t use drugs, and nothing would have come up on my test (unless it were a false positive). I just had a principled objection to the practice. I can see it for certain kinds of jobs (surgeon, airline pilot), but an office job in high tech? To me that’s a case of presumption of guilt. Let them show cause before they ask me to take a test.

Of course, I also walked away from another job opportunity purely because I did not like the shade of green on the panels covering the front of the building. I told them they had the ugliest building I had ever seen and that I knew I would hate going to work in it every day, so please discard my application because I wasn’t coming back.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

@Jeruba: I live in a state ravaged by meth abuse and drug testing is the norm here, even for entry level jobs. You think it’s a presumption of guilt but if you knew how problematic addict employees are then you might not object to take the test and not have to work with them. I too was offended at first but now I see the value in the testing everyday when I come into my relatively stable workplace with relatively reliable and responsible co workers.

Ivan's avatar

I don’t really have anything to hide, so I probably would if they asked me. That being said, it’s not a policy I would support.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

I don’t want to work for anyone who makes that a requirement. That’s incredibly invasive.

EmpressPixie's avatar

No. That would be irresponsible of me. This is definitely one of the sites they would want my password for and I feel like it would violate Bendrew’s trust in me as a moderator to hand it over.

Also, they absolutely do not have that kind of right to my private life. They wish.

Ivan's avatar

Let’s remember that a lot of employers are already checking the facebook and myspace pages of applicants without their discretion.

casheroo's avatar

No. I would never apply to such a place.

I don’t see how a drug screen is the same as giving private passwords.

juwhite1's avatar

@Ivan – That is very true. While most HR professionals feel doing so is unethical, there are plenty of others that do check social media to see what they can find. I think it is wrong to invade people’s privacy that way, so I don’t allow recruiters or hiring managers to do it. That said, it is a long leap from checking the public domain, to demanding the passwords to candidates’ accounts. That is beyond unethical!

lillycoyote's avatar

Absolutely not. That is an outrageous invasion of privacy by a prospective employer.

Ivan's avatar


I might tolerate the viewing of public profiles, but actually signing into their accounts is probably too far.

Likeradar's avatar

@Ivan Facebook can be set to private so people who you don’t friend can’t see anything except your profile picture and a few of your friends’ profile pictures.

No. Absolutely not. No. Not only would this let them see my whole page, which is set to private, but it would give them access to my private emails. Not gonna happen.

YARNLADY's avatar

How could it even be implemented? I don’t have a Facebook, Myspace or twitter or any such account, and on Fluther I use my Online name, not my real name.

mrswho's avatar

I could understand if it was some government position or something else involving espionage. I am not trying to hide anything but I would not want someone reading my messages or anything like that. However I would surrender my myspace for a license to kill.

juwhite1's avatar

@YARNLADY – You’d be amazed at what people will tell you in an interview, and what information they will just volunteer. I don’t know if it is nerves or just stupidity, but applicants… especially when they are underemployed, will do just about anything you ask them to and anything you imagine they’d want you to do. Unfortunately, they volunteer MUCH more information that we really want to know. We even had one describe the exact kind of diarrhea (that it wasn’t the normal kind but the explosive, really messy kind) she had that caused her to miss work and get fired to one of our Recruiters. In a job interview? She wanted the recruiter to know she was really sick and not just faking it, but that was a lot more information than he ever asked for. It would unfortunately be pretty easy to implement a policy with candidates and get them all to just go along with it.

wundayatta's avatar

Shoot, Sherlock. I maintain a Facebook page that is designed purely for the pleasure of nosy HR types. In it, I am the most fabulously successful, friendly and friended person you can possibly imagine. I am generous to a fault. Always organized and on time, and I have testimonials from all my previous employers stating that I always did twice the work of any other employee in half the time.

My God! If an HR person is dumb enough to believe what they see on social networking sites, they’ll probably be dumb enough to pay me twice what I’m worth. Oh. Here’s something for them to wrap their petty minds around—I never tell the truth! Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Off site, of course!

SeventhSense's avatar

This sounds ridiculous. It seemed like it was voluntary, but who would actually do that?
Hey here’s the key to my girlfriend’s apartment too…Oh and I won’t be around for the next few days…oh and she really loves weird PR guys with bad toupees and is sucker for a good office story…but hey don’t take advantage of her just because she’s a hot nymphomaniac..ok bye..

YARNLADY's avatar

@daloon That’s what I would do. Everything on a fake site would make me out to be the best person on earth.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Having access to your passwords could also create access to your friend’s information, photos, etc.

essieness's avatar

Absolutely not. My personal life is my personal life. It has absolutely no reflection on my work life or work ethic.

arkanofarc's avatar

This sparks another question to me: even if they do have your Facebook/Myspace password what would they do with it? Signing into your account and manipulating your data? FOR WHAT, exactly?

I don’t support such a dumb-ass policy.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Hell fucking NO! Enough said.

cookieman's avatar

In theory: No

In reality: The only site I’m on is Fluther which is easily Google-able – so it doesn’t matter. I stand by all my statements online or in person.

however, I might go for the cavity search if they buy me dinner first

dynamicduo's avatar

Not only would I not apply for the job, I would report them to all organizations they are violating via their request and make sure the entire world knew what that dumb company was trying to do. Beyond the fact that it’s none of their business and it goes against all of the site’s policies to give out your password to other people, I simply don’t trust them to keep the information secure or to dispose of it in a timely manner. But the biggest issue is that it’s none of their fucking business whatsoever what I choose to do.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’m with @Ivan
They can look all the want, I bet any employer would something or other they don’t like but I disagree entirely that it should be part of the application process

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